Olson's homer not enough
It was more of the same from Matt Olson on Saturday, as the A’s rookie continued his offensive tear with another home run.
Then the rain hit in Philadelphia, a nearly two-hour delay ensued at Citizens Bank Park, and the A’s offense went soggy in a 5-3 defeat to the Phillies.
Oakland fell to 2-3 on this nine-game road trip, but Olson’s emergence as a middle-of-the-order power bat continues to be a huge second-half bright spot for the A’s. He became the fifth Athletic this season to reach the 20-homer mark, the first time the A’s have had five players reach that milestone since 2004.
Olson is clearing the fence at a rate rarely seen from an A’s player in the infant stages of his career. His 20 homers have come in just 63 career games. Only Mark McGwire, with 22, has hit more over the same span of games to start his career. Olson has crammed 16 of his homers into the 34 games since he was recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Aug. 8, and he’s gone deep nine times in his last 13 games alone.
What’s more, when you factor in the 23 homers Olson hit for Nashville, he joins Giancarlo Stanton as the only two players in the past 30 years to hit 20 homers in both the majors and minors in the same season. Stanton did it in 2010.
On Friday night, Olson swatted a tape-measure blast 483 feet into the second deck. He led off the second inning Saturday by turning on a 2-2 pitch from Ben Lively and hitting a low liner over the right field wall.
It wasn’t enough, as the Phillies came back after a third-inning rain delay and scored single runs to tie the game in the third and fourth. Then Jorge Alfaro’s two-run homer off Simon Castro in the sixth put the Phillies up for good.
OFFENSE GOES COLD:
Rain hit in Philadelphia, and the game was delayed 1 hour, 46 minutes in the bottom of the third. When play resumed, the A’s couldn’t get anything going. At one point, Phillies pitchers retired 16 in a row. Oakland got a ninth-inning homer from Jed Lowrie, but that was the A’s first hit since Matt Chapman’s one-out double in the second.
SHORT NIGHT’S WORK:
Kendall Graveman took the mound to start for the A’s and delivered two scoreless innings. But after the long delay, manager Bob Melvin wasn’t going to risk injury with his Opening Night starter after such a long layoff. Chris Smith took over after play resumed, and he was charged with each of Philadelphia’s first two runs in his 1 1/3 innings of work.
After Lowrie homered, Mark Canha was hit by a pitch with two outs to bring the tying run to the plate. But Bruce Maxwell hit a comebacker for the final out.